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This year, September 13 to the 19th is National Assisted Living Week, an opportune time to raise awareness about the benefits of assisted living. This year’s theme gives special attention to caregivers and the essential services they provide.
Assisted living is a useful option for seniors who require some type of ongoing medical or personal care. Some benefits of assisted living include:
Many people feel guilty about putting their loved one in an assisted living community, but the truth is that sometimes it becomes necessary to do so. It may be time to consider assisted living if a loved one experiences any of the following:
There are several things to consider when evaluating assisted living communities, including the services provided, the atmosphere, and the cost. If possible, take a virtual tour of the facility and speak with a representative who is knowledgeable about the facility and its features.
It is important to ensure that the assisted living community one chooses is right for their loved one. Some questions one may want to ask include:
Not all assisted living facilities are safe and nurturing environments. More than 500,000 adults over the age of 60 years old are abused or neglected each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This number does not reflect the extent of the problem; many cases of nursing home abuse are unnoticed or unreported.
Additionally, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that approximately 95 percent of nursing home residents have been neglected or witnessed neglect.
The CDC lists six types of elder mistreatment:
Physical abuse: This includes pushing, hitting, slapping, or improperly restraining an elderly person. When this happens, one may notice that their loved one has unexplained injuries, such as bruises or broken bones.
Sexual abuse: There have been reports of assisted living staff members taking advantage of residents who are unable to defend themselves. Injuries around the genitals or the development of sexually transmitted diseases may be signs of rape or other forms of sexual abuse.
Emotional abuse: This type of mistreatment may not be as apparent as physical abuse, as it leaves no visible marks. However, if a loved one has sudden changes in mood or personality or exhibits fearful behavior, they may be a victim of emotional abuse.
Neglect: Nursing home aids are supposed to take care of residents and ensure that they have sanitary living conditions. When they fail to provide the basic necessities, such as food, water, shelter, and self-care, it constitutes neglect. Another form of neglect is social or emotional neglect, wherein a resident is subject to constant unkind treatment or forced isolation.
Financial abuse: Some people exploit the elderly for financial gain. Evidence of this type of abuse often becomes apparent when there are unexplained missing assets or financial transactions.
Abandonment: This type of neglect occurs when someone who is charged with caring for an elderly person deserts them, leaving them to their own devices, whether in a public place or an assisted living facility.
When elderly abuse or neglect is reported, it may trigger an investigation by an adult protective services agency, a criminal investigation, or a civil lawsuit. To recover monetary damages from an assisted living facility, a plaintiff must prove that the nursing home breached its duty to provide a specific standard of care to a resident, either by its own actions or its employees’ actions, and that the resident was injured as a result.
Even though an employee may have committed the abuse or neglect, the assisted living facility itself may be held legally liable. Through a legal concept known as vicarious liability, the employer has authority over the actions of its employees and is legally responsible for the actions of those employees. Damages available in nursing home neglect and abuse cases include:
Punitive damages may also be imposed on the assisted living facility in egregious cases of abuse. Such damages are awarded to punish the defendant for its wrongful actions and deter against future behavior.
If one suspects nursing home negligence or abuse, they should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. They may be able to hold the assisted living facility liable for the wrongful acts of its employees. An experienced attorney will be able to evaluate the case, collect evidence, and build the best nursing home neglect or abuse case possible.
Contact one of our Milford nursing home negligence lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow for assistance with your elder abuse case. Our experienced and compassionate legal team help nursing home abuse victims get the compensation that they deserve. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 302-422-6705. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.